Motivated by compassion
A City solicitor has been fined £10,000 after holding herself out to be a sole practitioner in court proceedings.
Sundeep Kang, who worked at Squire Patton Boggs at the time in 2020, agreed that ‘Person A’ could list her as their solicitor in civil proceedings at Coventry County Court, and “specifically requested” that she be referred to as a sole practitioner when preparing the application form.
Under regulatory rules, however, Kang was only entitled to practice as an employee of her firm.
During the proceedings, Person A wrote to the court to confirm that Kang was representing him “in her personal capacity as a qualified solicitor and McKenzie Friend”. Squire Patton Boggs was not involved in the proceedings.
Three months after this, Person A instructed counsel and Kang had no further involvement in the proceedings.
In a regulatory settlement agreement published this week, Kang admitted that she “did not take adequate steps to ensure that it was appropriate to refer to herself as a sole practitioner before the application form was submitted”. This, the agreement said, “had the effect of giving the court the incorrect impression that she was authorised to act on Person A’s behalf as a sole practitioner”.
The SRA said that Kang’s conduct was “reckless and demonstrated a disregard of her regulatory obligations”, and “had the potential to mislead the Court and prejudice Person B’s position in proceedings”.
The SRA fined Kang £10,000 despite it accepting that she had been “motivated from compassion for Person A”, and not financial or personal gain. It also noted that the conduct had caused “a limited level of disruption” and “did not fundamentally prejudice Person B’s position in the proceedings”.
Kang fully engaged with the SRA’s investigation and demonstrated sincere remorse and insight to her conduct, the agreement states.
On top of the fine, Kang also agreed to pay the SRA’s costs of £4,213.80.